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Germantown soccer program celebrates six collegiate signings

A 'rare and special' event, coaches said

Feb. 9, 2014

There are about 500 boys and girls participating in the Germantown Soccer Club at any one time. They don't all come from the Germantown/Jackson/Colgate area, but many of them do.

There are other clubs and organizations that provide soccer opportunities for area youth, too, and FC Milwaukee also has an excellent new turf field complex on Fond du Lac Avenue in the village to help in their development.

They get their base in the sport there and if they're really good and dedicated, they take it the next level, some with Germantown programs, others with clubs such as North Shore United, the Bavarians or Brookfield.

A good number of these kids go on to play high school soccer where they have contributed to the highly successful and still striving Germantown prep programs (the girls team made WIAA sectional finals last spring).

The uniform trait is that they all started early and developed their love and passion for the sport over countless hours of practice and with endless moral and financial support of family, friends and coaches.

And all that leads to something like the unique occurrence that came about in the Germantown high school cafeteria on Feb. 5 when on national signing day, six Warhawks players, four from the girls team and two from the boys, inked national letters of intent to play collegiate soccer.

"That is just very cool," said forward Maddie Tetzke, who will be heading off to join the NCAA Division I UW-Milwaukee women's program next fall. "It just shows that we've made a lot of progress in developing players over the years."

"It's a good sign," said boys all-stater Paul Ciszewski, who is accepting a Division I ride to Drake (Iowa) University. "A very good thing. It shows that Germantown soccer is growing."

"I think it's an awesome for the program," Division II Winona State (Minnesota)-bound Amy Flasch said. "It's very exciting."

Others who joined in the celebration were Division I Southeast Missouri State-bound Paige Blankenheim, future Indiana State (DI) student Kayla Schlosser and DIII Wartburg (Iowa) College-headed Nich Sucher.

Both Germantown boys coach Omar Sethi and girls coach Paul Skinger were pleased beyond measure at this happy confluence.

"I don't think we would have seen something like this five years ago," Sikinger said. "There was some success in the past but we hadn't reached a threshold yet. Now maybe we can establish a tradition with something like this (every year) because it is still extremely rare to have something like this, players going on to the next level.

"Really rare."

Sethi thinks the blue-collar ethic of the community played a big role in an event like this coming about.

"It's very satisfying and rewarding," he said. "We're (the coaches) are very blessed to be in a community that as a whole is very hard-working. There are games you win on your talent, but there are also games you can win on your grit. There's a lot of grit out here.

"And a lot of good players."

The event featured an elaborate set-up including a full signing table with little flourishes like blue and white frosted cupcakes and bottles of water for the players along with all the logos of their projected schools broadcast on the wall behind them.

"The parents did a great job setting this up," Sikinger said. "The Tetzkes, the Blankenheims, everyone in general. They're all there, all major contributors. They fundraise, they work behind the scenes. They really help take a lot of the pressure off."

So the kids can succeed.

After all, soccer is a passion, a love and a skill set embraced by millions worldwide. And here for these young men and women, it is also a means to an end, it makes getting a good education a little easier. Some wanted to stay close to home to get it while others wanted to see the world a little bit.

Most fell in love with their future campuses.

"Oh my God, it (Winona) was so pretty in the fall, with all the leaves," Flasch said.

And are all motivated in what they want to achieve in the wider world.

Ciszewski will major in math and finance; Flasch, something in the medical field, maybe dentistry; Blankenheim would like to be an optometrist; Sucher wants to go into environmental science; Schlosser pre-med/nursing; and Tetzke is just in love with UW-Milwaukee's physical therapy program.

At the event, they laughed together shared jokes and wore T-shirts or hoodies with their school names on them. For now, they are still Warhawks, but in the future, they will be part of something larger and maybe that will lead to even bigger and better things for them.

In short, this evening was something to celebrate.

"There's a lot of talent coming through Germantown right now," Blankenheim said. "It just shows we're growing as a program."

"Germantown soccer is just becoming very prominent right now," Sucher added.

And entitled to a special event like what occurred on Feb. 5.

"This was very special," Skinger said to the assembled family and friends. "...Something they (the players) can remember the rest of their lives."

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